Leadership Ideas, Information and News

Monday, February 28, 2011

Central Florida Resident Awarded the FBI Director's Community Leadership Award

TAMPA, FL—Today, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Steven E. Ibison announced that Travis T. Gabriel was awarded the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director’s Community Leadership Award (DCLA) for 2010. SAC Ibison recently presented the award to Mr. Gabriel during an FBI conference which was attended by approximately 400 FBI employees and law enforcement officers.

Since 1990, the DCLA has been a principle means for the FBI to publicly recognize the achievements of individuals and organizations for their contributions to crime and violence education and prevention within their communities.

Mr. Gabriel is a 2003 graduate from the University of Central Florida. Upon graduation, Mr. Gabriel made it his priority to educate and positively influence at-risk young males. Mr. Gabriel knew what these young people faced, as he too grew up in a high crime, poverty stricken, low education area in Miami, Florida that was riddled with drugs, gangs, and violence. At 16, he had to decide his fate after his mother's untimely death.

Mr. Gabriel first worked as a high school teacher and then as a juvenile probation officer, where he noticed that a positive role model was lacking in the lives of delinquent youth. Determined to make a difference, Mr. Gabriel started a program called Modeling Alternatives to Negative and Undesirable Perceptions, or M.A.N. U.P. This program began as a diversion program used by the State Attorney's Office in Circuit 9, Orange County, Florida. This program allows first-time offenders a chance to avoid formal prosecution, if diversion requirements are successfully completed.

At risk youth may be referred to M.A.N. U.P. not only through the State Attorney's office, but also through the Center for Drug Free Living, the Department of Juvenile Justice, or the Orange County Public Schools. To qualify, participants must be between the ages of 7-18 years old.

For more than 10 years, Mr. Gabriel has worked with delinquent youth and has provided this educational program to at-risk males, educating them on antisocial attitudes, antisocial peers, school and /or work, substance abuse, family issues, and free time. This six-week program is to introduce and train these young men in areas that include discipline, respect, motivation, and honesty, as well as allowing them to experience situations that enhance their knowledge and understanding of being a positive asset to society.

To date, Mr. Gabriel has educated more than 400 young men and has an estimated 80 percent success rate (low recidivism of youth re-entering the system). He receives no monetary compensation for this program, which is widely supported throughout the community.

Mr. Gabriel understands first-hand what young people experience. His motto is, "Today is the first day of the rest of our life, which means that no matter what happened yesterday, you always have a chance to restart your life today."

In addition to the award, Mr. Gabriel also received a paid trip to Washington D.C. for a formal ceremony to be personally recognized by FBI Director Robert Mueller III.

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